The proper set-up will keep callers – and customer service reps – happy.
All of us at one time or another have called someone – either personally or professionally – and had to deal with a lot of noise on their end. Whether due to a loud location or perhaps just a particularly enthusiastic person in the area, we may have ended up raising our own voices to be understood. While you can chide your friend later about your conversation (and perhaps the obnoxious person they were sitting near at Starbucks), the same isn’t true when calling a business.
If someone calls a company, generally it’s their last resort; these days most people prefer to contact customer service through email or even social media. Chances are, they’re already miffed or concerned about something. And once they’re on the phone with a representative, they want their problem to be solved as easily as possible. If they have to raise their voice or repeat themselves, that will only make things worse.
This is why the level of noise in a call center is a big concern to companies looking to improve customer experience. To help make yours as quiet as a library – at least for callers on the other end of the phone – follow these set-up tips:
Forget the (totally) open office
The open office is a trend used to increase productivity and encourage collaboration, but it can also be terribly noisy if it’s overdone. According to an analysis by Allsteel:
“Not all that long ago, a typical floor plan used 80% of its square footage on offices and workstations – ‘I’ spaces. The other 20% – the ‘We’ spaces – usually took the form of enclosed conference rooms of various sizes, and a break room and copy room. More recently, we’ve seen the most progressive organizations shifting to closer to a 50/50 split between ‘I’ and ‘We’ …
All these new kinds of spaces or settings – even the enclosed ones – add to the complexity of getting the acoustics right.”
Cubicles, especially those constructed with sound-deadening materials, are still an excellent way to block out surrounding noise while on the phone. It’s also important that there is adequate space between reps – if they are on top of each other, simultaneous conversations with customers will carry.
Focus on noise control from day 1
If you’re building the call center from the ground up, be sure to make noise control a priority. Think about sound-absorbing elements that can be used in the ceilings, walls, furniture surfaces, and, as mentioned, cubicle partitions. Carpet is also a good way to dampen sound and keep it from traveling. An existing office can be retrofitted with these components as well.
Create a loud area
When you have to speak softly all day (not to mention deal with grouchy customers), you need to blow off steam somewhere. The solution? The design planning principle of “zoning.” Call centers would be wise to have a designated area where employees can get a little loud, albeit at a safe enough distance from the folks still working the phones. This loud area could be the lunch room or even a game room. The bonus is that when workers regularly talk to one another or play games together, the team is strengthened and more content, which will only help the company.
Add more noise
Wait, what? Yes, actually adding more sound can mask extraneous noise and even make an environment seem quieter. We’re not talking about blaring rock music, but adding constant, low-level sound like white noise, also known as “electronic sound masking,” can be very beneficial. This will block out other noises so the rep can focus on the call. It’s important to note that the level of this sound masking needs to be easily adjustable and specifically tailored to individual areas in the workspace.
Bring in Some Greenery
Did you know that large plants can actually deflect noise? In addition, some greenery around a call center always looks nice, plus it’s been proven to boost happiness and productivity.
A complete design solution for your call center
In order for your representatives to do their job effectively, your call center has to be arranged so excess noise isn’t an issue. Compass Office Solutions can help you design – or redesign – your set-up and provide you with the right furniture to maximize sound control.
We have innovated the office furnishings industry by performing all stages of the workspace creation process online: from technical design to order entry, everything is done electronically. This innovation speeds the process and helps to guide our customers each step of the way.
If you are in need of a design that controls sound in your call center, give Compass Office Solutions a call at 954.430.4590 or contact us through our online form today.